Fake Justin Verlander t-shirt creates Internet stir

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

Justin Verlander can be funny and a tad self-deprecating after a tough loss.

Just not this funny and self-deprecating.

Though many people instantly wanted to believe it was real — and who could blame them? — the photo of the Detroit Tigers pitcher wearing a "Property of Pablo Sandoval" t-shirt that made the Internet rounds on Friday was a fake.

So, no, Verlander was not grinning and bearing it two days after he served up two home runs to San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval in a 8-3 loss in Game 1 of the World Series.

As our pal C. Trent Rosecrans of Eye on Baseball points out, you can tell that the picture was taken at Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field, back when it was still warm enough to wear shorts in the Windy City. Those of us with long memories will also remember that Verlander originally tweeted the undoctored picture back in September and it contained him wearing a t-shirt promoting teammate Miguel Cabrera for American League MVP.

"That's an absolute fraud," Tigers PR guy Brian Britten told USA Today. "I took the (original) picture in Chicago. The actual t-shirt says keep the 'MVP in the D.'"

Still, we have to give credit to the Photoshop talents of whoever let the joke out into the wilds of the Internet. It certainly does look convincing and it was enough to fool Sports Illustrated's Peter King and a New York Daily News columnist. Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews also took pause to wonder if it was real or not.

[Also: Tigers in need of some hometown breaks]

But c'mon people, let's use a little logic here. Verlander may be able to get away with a lot of things in Detroit, but wearing a t-shirt poking fun at the fact he was taken deep twice by the Kung Fu Panda is definitely not one of them.

Plus, Verlander is such a big competitor that he would never wear something like that in the first place, especially not with the Tigers sitting in a 2-0 hole as the World Series shifts to Detroit for Game 3 on Saturday night.

Don't miss a thing this World Series ...
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